Thursday was a day of national mourning in Romania, as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks that struck Brussels on Tuesday. The Belgian embassy in Bucharest opened a book of condolences in the memory of the victims of the attacks, a book still open on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., for those willing to express their solidarity with the Belgian people. On Thursday, many persons, including politicians but also foreign ambassadors, went at the Belgian embassy and lit candles, laid flowers and wrote messages of compassion.
The ambassadors of Germany, France, Spain, Bosnia, Serbia, Cyprus and Poland were among the first who wrote their messages in the book of condolences on Thursday morning.
PM Dacian Ciolos: ‘One cannot fight alone a plague like terrorism’
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos signed on Thursday in the book of condolence opened by the Belgian Embassy in Bucharest following Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels.
“It is a difficult moment, not just for Belgium and Brussels; it is a difficult moment for Europe, for the European Union. From my point of view, it is one more call to solidarity. One cannot fight alone a plague like terrorism, no matter how strong one is. As you can see, it is a very cowardly way of acting, which is contrary to our values in Europe, and to which we are sadly unaccustomed,” Ciolos said on the occasion.
“I strongly believe that only by strengthening our cooperation among the EU member states we can also preserve the freedom space we have in the EU, because it is the most challenged at present, as any member state tends to back up to protect itself. So I think that, to be able to keep this space of freedom, the solution is to strengthen the cooperation,” he stressed.
To questions about new threats to Romania, the prime minister answered that the authorities are vigilant and no additional threats have been noted.
“Based on the information at my disposal, there are no additional threats. Of course, Romanian authorities are in a state of vigilance, and not just from now. However, no additional threats have been noted,” the Head of Government said.
President Iohannis: ‘I think about what should be done are solidarity, calm and unity’
President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday signed a condolence book opened at the Belgian Embassy in Bucharest to the memory of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels.
“This attack, rather a series of attacks in Brussels, happened in a very bleak day not just to Belgium, although Belgium is the hardest hit, but to the entire European Union, and I am very convinced that we can fight together against this scourge of attack only if all the countries work together; the words that come to my mind when I think about what should be done are solidarity, calm and unity. Without working together we will not be able to solve these issues and if we manage to get together and work out a common policy, then the solutions will show up,” said Iohannis.
He added that as far as Romania is concerned, there is no sign of additional threats.
”My heart goes out to the Belgian people. My sincere condolences and compassion to the bereaved families for their losses,” Iohannis wrote in the book.
Princess Margareta: ‘We must defend our common values’
Princess Margareta signed on Thursday in the condolence book with Belgium’s Embassy, expressing solidarity with the Belgian people.
“We must defend our common values of freedom, of thinking and living, in fact,” said the Custodian of the Romanian Crown.
Princess Margareta added that she had sent a letter to King Philippe of Belgium following the attacks in Brussels.
Valeriu Zgonea: “We have been attacked at the core of our European values”
Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea signed on Thursday in the book of condolences opened at the Belgian embassy.
“It is a difficult moment for the democratic world, for all our fundamental values, for everything we believe in and what we have built in recent years, for our spirit and the freedoms that we have been passing down along so many generations to the entire world. We have been attacked – if you want – at the core of our democracy and our European values. We must be united at the level of presidents of state, heads of governments, Parliament speakers, and show the whole world that this space of security and prosperity will remain a place where everyone can find a chance for the future,” said Zgonea.
Ion Iliescu: “Let us form a common front against blind terrorist forces”
Former President Ion Iliescu stated on this occasion that terrorism “is a phenomenon that affects not only the countries concerned,” and that “we are all affected by this.” The former Head of State added that the feeling of solidarity is “the only feeling, the only position required in moments like these, let us form a common front against blind forces, dark terrorist forces that bring ceaseless discord and tension in society.”
He pointed out that Romania is not in the path of great immigration waves. “We are on a lower lever from the standpoint of economic development, we present less interest for such immigrants,” Iliescu said.
Asked by journalists what should Romania do in order to avoid becoming the target for terrorist attacks, he answered: “We have to learn lessons and to use the experience of others, to be prepared to nip such attempts in the bud.”
Mircea Geoana:“These terrorist attacks hit at the heart of what is the foundation of democracy”
“These terrorist attacks hit at the heart of what is the foundation of democracy”Senator Mircea Geoana signed in the book of condolences too, stating afterward that this is a day of mourning for the whole of Europe and for all lovers of freedom and democracy in the world.
“These senseless and heartless terrorist attacks hit more than the capital of Belgium and the capital of Europe, they hit at the heart of what is the foundation of Western democracy. The war that these people are launching against Western civilization is affecting us too. We can but show solidarity with what is happening in Western Europe,” Mircea Geoana stated, adding that Romania is not completely safe from such attacks “but still we are a bit more secure.”
Romanians injured in the attacks, out of harm’s way
The four Romanians injured in the attacks are out of harm’s way. Three of them remain hospitalized but their condition has improved.
Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, was rocked by several explosions on Tuesday morning, at the Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek subway station. The latest tally announced by Belgian authorities points to 31 dead and 300 injured, with four Romanians being among those injured.
Belgian authorities announced that citizens of 40 nationalities were affected by Tuesday’s attacks.
Tarom flights to Brussels, suspended
Tarom airline company announced on Thursday that the flights on the Bucharest – Brussels – Bucharest route, scheduled on March 25-27, will be cancelled, after Belgian authorities informed that the Zaventem airport remains closed. Bearing this in mind, the passengers of these flights will be rescheduled for the Tarom RO 361/362 and and RO 363/364 flights on the Bucharest – Amsterdam – Bucharest route on the same days or will be able to request rescheduling for other days or destinations (Paris, London, Frankfurt, Munich). Tarom has set up a temporary working point at Terminal 2 of the Schipol Amsterdam airport, in front of the 12-13 check-in line, the communique adds. Tarom’s phone emergency phone numbers are 003247309981 (for its representatives in Brussels) and 00322473841576 (in Amsterdam).
Former ForMin Aurescu refloats idea of an international court to combat terrorism
Former foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu stated Wednesday, referring to the recent deadly attacks in Brussels, that increased international cooperation was needed to combat terrorism.
“Terrorism is, regrettably, increasing in magnitude and frequency, as recent attacks in Brussels have showed us and without a doubt, increased international cooperation is needed,” Aurescu said at the opening of the conference “Bucharest International Student Model United Nations 2016”.
Aurescu argued that talks to be held at the conference, which is dedicated to exploring the way in which various UN bodies can cooperate, can provide new solutions for combating terrorism. “A new vision is needed, new ideas are needed, new mechanisms and concepts which, including with the instruments of international law (…), to make the fight against terrorism more efficient,” Aurescu said.
The former minister recalled his initiative on creating an International Court Against Terrorism, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“There is a need, alongside the activity of combating terrorism by enforcing laws at an international level, for an international initiative to make use of instruments pertaining to the international justice [system], such as international courts, to make combating terrorism much more efficient,” Aurescu stressed.
At the end of the opening ceremony of the “Student Model United Nations” conference, held at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest until March 28, a Protocol of collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN Youth Association of Romania was signed. The document promotes the advancement of UN values among Romanian youth and, in general, among the Romanian society, with a focus on supporting the education sector.